That was the big news from the second day of Sounders FC preseason training.
Never mind about the previous day’s where-in-the-world-is-Freddie-Ljungberg controversy.
All just a big misunderstanding. The Sounders’ designated player is in Europe now, but he and the club happily agree that he will be in Seattle on Monday, ready to resume training and play through the second season of his two-year contract.
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The misunderstanding arose from a conversation that general manager Adrian Hanauer had Monday with Claes Elefalk, Ljungberg’s agent.
“Claes thought that he was communicating 100 percent that Freddie would be here next week,” Hanauer said Tuesday. “I didn’t quite hear that – a bit of a miscommunication. Freddie certainly thought that he had communicated to his representation that he would be here first thing Monday morning, (and) the reality is that he will be here first thing Monday morning. And we’re very happy about that.”
When the Sounders’ confusion was reported by the media on Monday, Ljungberg expressed his own surprise in his blog at freddie.speaksup.com. But within hours, he acknowledged the communication error, confirmed that he will be in Seattle on Monday and wrote that he is “very excited” about returning to the Sounders.
Ljungberg indicated that he had hesitated about returning to Major League Soccer because of fears of a lockout when the existing collective bargaining agreement expires Sunday.
And although no agreement has been reached, his blog cited new optimism.
“I’ve always said I want to go back to America and play for Seattle,” he wrote. “Based on the latest news I’ve heard from both sides, there won’t be a lockout or strike on (Monday). So (starting Monday), I will be with my team in Seattle trying to help them become the best team in America.”
Hanauer acknowledged that the club’s preference would have been for Ljungberg to report with his teammates this week. And he didn’t rule out a fine for Ljungberg’s delay. However, his primary message was happiness that the club’s highest-paid player will be in camp soon.
And that outlook was echoed by coach Sigi Schmid.
“I’m looking forward to Freddie coming in,” Schmid said. “I’m glad that all of this is behind us. We’re just looking at moving forward and making sure that we’re a better team than we were last year. …
“Obviously, he will have missed a week. But this is a relatively easy week, not one where we’re pushing fitness. I think he should be pretty much close to the level of the other guys.”
Barring a work stoppage, the Sounders will practice Monday and Tuesday, then fly a week from today to begin a second phase of training in Casa Grande, Ariz.
2009 Sounders defender of the year Tyrone Marshall will leave training with the club’s blessing today, heading to join the Jamaica national team for its Sunday friendly with Canada. Marshall has 68 appearances with the national team and last wore his nation’s colors in the 2009 Gold Cup.
“I’m always glad for the opportunity to represent your country,” Marshall said. “It’s always an honor.”
Marshall is expected back Monday, and Schmid said he doesn’t think Marshall or the Sounders will be harmed by him missing three training sessions.
“I know Tyrone is getting at an age where his national team career is probably slowly coming to a close,” Schmid said. “So now it’s a matter of his participating in this game. He’s like to participate, and he doesn’t miss anything from us in terms of any games and so forth, so it makes sense.”
The Sounders will move to the Seahawks’ indoor facility in Renton for training sessions today and Thursday. … The Sounders are expected to give a 2010 ticket update today. And judging from the buzz, the expectation is that they are expecting to break last season’s MLS attendance record.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808